According to official data, there was a low voter turnout of 37.01 per cent in the by-elections held in Punjab’s Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday. Polling officials said these are provisional numbers and may increase after the data is compiled.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Sangrur, 72.44 percent voter turnout was recorded. Voting started at 8 am on Thursday and went on till 6 pm.
Poor polling was recorded in most of the nine assembly constituencies during the day. Data from the Election Commission’s voter turnout app shows that at 10.30 pm, the provisional voter turnout was 37.01 per cent. Earlier in a tweet, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had demanded the Election Commission to extend the polling time till 7 pm, saying many people were working in the fields late due to the paddy sowing season.
Subsequently, the Election Commission asked the Chief Secretary of Punjab and the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur to explain why they extended the polling hours to the closing hours, saying it was “unreasonable to interfere with the election process”. and attempt to influence some section of the electorate”. Informing them to expedite voting or wait for extension of time”. The Commission condemns such behavior of officials during the election process.
The bypoll to the seat was held following the resignation of Bhagwant Mann from the Lok Sabha after being elected as an MLA in the state assembly elections earlier this year. He had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.
Sangrur parliamentary constituency has 15,69,240 eligible voters – 8,30,056 are males, 7,39,140 are females and 44 are of third gender. Sixteen candidates, including three women, were in the fray. 1,766 polling stations were set up.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing its first test of popularity after its impressive performance in the assembly elections. The bypolls took place at a time when AAP is facing the heat of the opposition over the law and order situation in the state and the killing of singer Sidhu Musewala.
Mann campaigned extensively and held a roadshow with AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, urging voters to ensure the victory of the party’s Sangrur district in-charge Gurmel Singh. The Chief Minister had expressed confidence that the revolutionary people of Sangrur would once again vote for the common man and AAP’s Gurmel Singh would win the by-election with a thumping majority.
Congress, BJP and SAD targeted the AAP government for the deteriorating law and order in the state and also raised the issue of Moosewala’s murder. Opposition parties also criticized the AAP government for its “unfulfilled promises”.
The main opposition Congress has fielded former Dhuri MLA Dalveer Singh Goldie, while the BJP has fielded former Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon, who joined the party on June 4. Kamaldeep Kaur, sister of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s convict Balwant Singh Rajoana. SAD has registered a case of murder.
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is also in the fray.
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